PRINCIPLE: “When you’re selling what you’re selling, eat it.”
Shaquille O’Neal. Peyton Manning. Michael Jordan. Janet Jackson. Debbie Boone. Sharon Osborn. What do they have in common? … They all pitch certain wares or products in television ads. Have you ever wondered if they actually use the products they endorse? Does it matter? If I’m trying to decide what to buy, it does. If they use, and are satisfied with what they are selling, it raises my opinion of the product. If they do not use, or are not satisfied with what they are selling, and are doing it only for the money, it lowers my opinion of the product.
Barb and I used to sell some products. A major part of our ‘pitch’ was to tell why we liked using them so much. Our experience with the products gave credibility to our pitch. Matching what we were selling and what we were using was critical for our integrity and our effectiveness.
And the same thing is true for our daily living. This was affirmed for me when I read the following: “Helmut Thielicke points out that we often wonder if the celebrities who advertise foods and beverages actually consume what they are selling. He goes on to say that this is the very question most pressing for those of us who speak for Christ. Surely something has gone wrong when moral failures are so massive and widespread among us. Perhaps we are not eating what we are selling. More likely, I think, what we are ‘selling’ is irrelevant to our real existence and without power over daily life.”1“When you’re selling what you’re selling, eat it.” Statistics show that when it comes to moral and ethical issues, Christians fare little better than non-Christians. The only difference is we preach and teach that it should be different. In other words, we’re not eating what we’re selling.
The wise preacher , in Prov. 12:22, wrote, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” Jesus was even more direct: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”(Mt. 7:21) “When you’re selling what you’re selling, eat it.”
Itmakes me wonder about my ‘lips and life,’ my profession and my personality, my preaching and my performance. Do they align? Am I eating what I’m selling, living what I’m teaching? What are you selling – what are you saying about Jesus and your life of faith? Does the quality of your life raise others’ opinion of your testimony , and therefore of Jesus, or lower it? Are you eating what you’re selling? John the Baptist condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees when he railed at them, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”(Mt. 3:8) If, indeed, you’re claiming your inheritance through baptism, live that way! Turn around the way you live. “When you’re selling what you’re selling, eat it.”
Remember Jesus words: “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”(Mt. 7:17-20 NLT) Eugene Peterson captures it pointedly in The Message: “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”
Are your lips and life in sync? If not, either change your testimony and words – or change your life. There are no other options.“When you’re selling what you’re selling, eat it.”
1Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, Harper One, © 1997 by Dallas Willard